40 yr old caucasian female, labor & delivery nurse for past 5 years. I have a low back pain for around 16 yrs.now and have learned to live with it but for the past year I have been having thoracic pain, more noticeable in bilateral ribs radiating to chest. I started ... [More] seeing my family Dr. regarding the pain and difficulty sleeping because of it. I had T-spine X-ray which showed spurring of anterior spine around my bra line. I seemed to make the pain more severe after helping to pull up wood flooring and had an MRI which shows small right paracentral protrusion 2mm on sagittal image at T5-T6 mildly effacing the thecal sac, less prominent of the axial images. Mild effusion of the thecal sac. Minimal effacement of the anterior right thecal sac at T3-4 from degenerative change.
I also have a large schmorl's node at T11-T12. My family Dr. made the comment that they don't do anything for thoracic disc problems and the best thing I can do is walk. This makes me feel like I'm complaining about pain that shouldnt be a big deal. Am I being overly concerned?
This statement pretty much says it all. "This makes me feel like I'm complaining about pain that shouldn't be a big deal." "Am I being overly concerned?" Yeah, it shouldn't be a big deal, but it must be if its causing you that much pain. There's nothing wrong with being concerned, if you've been dealing with back pain for 16 years you're obviously no stranger to pain.
I have a few thoracic problems myself, so I know its difficult to deal with. My Surgeon sent to P.T prior to a neck surgery I had to see if mechanical traction would help. My muscles were so tight and guarded from the pain, that when they did the traction it tore one of my ribs away from the vertebra in my thoracic spine. Horrible pain, its been 5 years and it still hurts and it won't heal for some reason.
Spine Surgeons are very leery of doing anything in the T-spine because you have to go through the chest and there's a lot of potential dangers. The surgeries are usually reserved for patients with loss of bodily functions and other very severe conditions. Although they have been doing a lot more minimally-evasive Endoscopic T-spine surgeries where they don't have to go through the chest.
Have you seen a specialist or tried P.T or injections? It might be worth a shot.
A little over 3 years ago, I had a horseback accident resulting in a compression fracture of T12 vertebra. I had another fall in December of '08 that worsened my pain. The worst of my pain goes from T12 up through T5 vertebra. Two of my most painful points are from my spine along my ribs and my shoulder blade area. I have had numerous pain control therapies over the past three years, everything from physical therapy, steroid injections, nerve blocks, epidurals, radio frequency nerve ablation and most recently I had a spinal cord stimulator implant. I have to tell you, it really makes a huge difference in the pain. I do have to have another surgery to adjust the height of my stimulation (it doesn't go quite high enough right now so I have to have another lead put in) but it is really worth it. My pain was very severe and impacted my quality of life as well as my families, as I'm sure you can appreciate.
Along with my thoracic pain, like you, I have lower back and hip pain. The spinal cord stimulator works great for that as well! I just can't tell you what a difference it has made, so much more so than anything else I have tried.
Good luck to you and God bless. You are in a profession that nearly guarantees you will be treated for pain at some point. The way I feel about pain is this....if it is making you uncomfortable to the point you cannot function properly, then yes, you should be concerned.
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